tv NBC Nightly News NBC September 1, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
on our broadcast tonight, on alert for hurricane earl and trying to figure out where this monster hurricane will strike. tonight, the northeast is preparing for its first hurricane in years. a hostage drama finally over tonight after an armed man entered the headquarters of the discovery channel. the diagnosis. michael douglas makes a surprise announcement about his fight with cancer. and making a difference. on the homefront when a dad goes off to war. on the homefront when a dad goes off to war. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. we have a major storm making its climb up the east coast tonight, and there are so many places where it could strike before it is over, it would take you an entire day to drive the length of the area where all the watches have now been posted. from the carolinas way up to new england where this would be the first hurricane in years. tonight, this storm is back up to a category four. it has not made the turn to the north. 30 million peoe, give or take, along the east coast have got to now hope for that turn to the north to avoid a direct hit in any one place. we've got all our folks standing by to cover it all. we're going to start with al roker where it's a beautiful night off the coast of north carolina as if not to know what lurks offshore. al, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. over my shoulder you can see the red flag flying telling folks, no swimming out there, because
the riptides are getting even worse. here's the latest on hurricane earl. currently it is 630 miles south-southe pt of cape hatteras. 135 miles per hour winds.iscaa . the hurricane warnings are up now along the north carolina shoreline. we have also got hurricane watches in effect and tropical storm watches as far north as the marimack river in new england and tropical storm warnings down to cape fear. the path of the storm brings it alongshore along the carolinas by early friday morning as a category four storm. as that happens, we've got to remember, even if it's not a direct hit it is a strong enough storm, the hurricane force winds extend out 90 miles. tropical winds out 200 miles as a category three storm off the r shoreline that could cause major damage. it makes its way friday afternoon into saturday morning along the atlantic seaboard. again, a degree or two either side of the path will make a big
dierence, skirting across new england. they haven't had a major hit since hurricane bob, since 1991. so we continue to watch this. we'll have complete details for you starting tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. on the weather channel and "wake up with al" and the "today" show. >> thanks. of course the timing here couldn't be worse. we're coming up on labor day, holiday weekend. a whole lot of people along the east coast have a lot of plans. ron mott is in kill devil hills, north carolina, for us tonight. ron, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. as earl marches toward the shoreline, time becomes all that more important, perhaps separating safety from imminent danger. though today produced yet another beautiful sunrise over cape hatteras, thousands are clearing out for what lurks beyond, earl. >> safety comes first. >> reporter: the storm's outer bands are expected to start whipping north carolina's outer
banks in the coming hours. >> our week is cut short. it really stinks. >> reporter: voluntary departures in kitty hawk, tourists and residents are leaving little to chance. >> if it stayed out to sea we'd be okay and gotten rain. if it comes in, we don't know. we're not going to ruin our vacation by being in bad weather. >> reporter: earl's changing vacation plans in the open water as well. today a carnival ship docked in cape canaveral, florida, instead of a planned stop in the bahamas. at the navy's home in virginia, crews readies aircraft carriers and battleships to move if the going gets too rough. >> we pride ourselves on being ready to do whatever needs to be done. >> reporter: in new jersey it's the surf that's getting rough, keeping lifeguards on their toes. >> we are seeing the surf effect start to happen. our lifeguards are watching for riptides. we're keeping bathers close to shore. >> reporter: in new england where rocky seas turned deadly yesterday for a fisherman, they
are bracing for the first hurricane to hit that reason since hurricane bob nearly two decades ago. >> we are well overdue. the last was in 1991. >> reporter: ready or not, welcome or not, here comes earl. fema activated national and regional response centers moving food, water and other supplies into position, brian. >> ron mott along the north carolina coast for us as well tonight. ron, thanks. with us this evening, longtime hurricane specialist brian norcross from the weather channel. brian, i was listening to you earlier today make two points about the science of this. number one, a tick to the west of two degrees and we have an historic weather event. number two, absent anything to drive it out across the united states, you were fearing it could make an s-turn and slam left into new england before it's all over. >> that's right, brian. the issue here is the weather
pattern that we're looking at is the kind of weather pattern that takes hurricanes into the northeast and new england. it doesn't happen very often, but it has happened many times through history. the big drivers are high pressure off the east coast and this big dip in the jet stream. unusually strong dip out here to the west. of course there's earl. as we go through the next couple of days there's going to be a shift. right now, earl is going around that high. but the big low pressure dip will move to the east and bring earl up the coast and then it just depends on the orientation of those winds there. the thinking is it will bend back to the left somewhere in the vicinity of new england, maybe massachusetts or maine. the critical angle there of exactly this wind flow is what's going to make all the difference in the world. that just can't be forecast at this point. brian, we promised you a busy hurricane season. here we go with the next one. this is gaston formed today, forecast to be a hurricane approaching the islands by the first part of next week.
there is another system coming off of africa. that would be hermine, if and when that develops. >> as you work your models in the computer, we hope for the best. we'll be talking to you again, i'm sure, tomorrow night as earl becomes more of a reality on the east coast. > now to the hostage drama that played out for much of this day. just outside the nation's capital it played out live on nonstop cable television all afternoon. it started when a man with a gun burst into the headquarters building of the discovery channel. it didn't end until many hours later. our own tom costello was on scene covering it all in silver spring, maryland. tom, evening. >> reporter: hi, brian. the stand-off finally ended when police shot and killed the suspect. they believe he was threatening the lives of the three hostages.
all three men got out unharmed. during the crisis, nbc news called discovery. the suspect grabbed the phone away from the operator. we chose out of caution not to reveal that information until this incident was over. it all began about 1:00 this afternoon when an armed man entered the discovery channel's headquarters in maryland, about a mile over the washington, d.c. border. >> having lunch in the cafeteria. someone came and said, don't go into the lobby. there is some action going on there. there are cops inside. >> reporter: police say the building was immediately ordered to be evacuated and most of the 1,900 employees managed to get out. >> panic, nervous, afraid. we weren't sure if the gunman was going to come up to the other floors or anything. they told us to get into the interior offices and lock the doors and everything. a day care center was safely evacuated. authorities said all children were reunited with parents.
the gunman identified as 43-year-old james jay lee held three employees hostage telling them to, quote, stay still. police began roughly three hours of telephone negotiations with the suspect but became increasingly concerned he might harm the hostages. investigators say on the scene they could see him inside the building wearing what appeared to be pipe bombs. we can reveal tonight that shortly after the crisis began, nbc news called the discovery channel headquarters when lee himself grabbed the phone and an nbc producer spoke to him for about ten minutes and recorded the conversation. >> do you have a gun? >> i have a gun. i have a bomb. i have several bombs strapped to my body ready to go off. >> reporter: nbc news elected not to reveal the conversation with lee until the hostage crisis was over. just shy of four hours after the stand-off started, police decided to shoot the suspect. >> based on the information that we had, we believed that it was -- that the hostages' lives were in danger.
>> reporter: records show lee started protesting outside discovery's headquarters more than two years ago, handing out a rambling leaflet that called for discovery to have more coverage of overpopulation and animal extinction. he was arrested in february of 2008 and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. members of the bomb squad tell me they plan to spend much of the night inside that building making safe at least four suspicious devices. discovery representatives said they had been aware of mr. lee for years but never took his demands seriously. >> tom costello, silver spring, maryland, just outside the washington, d.c. border tonight. tom, thanks. some mixed news on the u.s. economy tonight. first the bad news. auto sales plunged in august from last year which was propped up, remember, by the government's cash for clunkers program. toyota sales were down 34%. honda down 33. gm down 25.
ford down 11. chrysler managed a 7% gain only because their cash for clunkers sales were so weak last year. the good news, manufacturing business grew in this country in august for the 13th month in a row. wall street was happy with that stat and the dow soared nearly 255 points on the day as a result. overseas to iraq where today inside one of suddam hussein's old palaces, the official handover ceremony as u.s. forces stepped back into a supporting role now and let the iraqis officially take the lead in their own security. vice president joe biden, defense secretary robert gates were there in baghdad for today's ceremony. having turned now to another front, president obama today became the latest president to take on the challenge of peace between israelis and palestinians. negotiations under way. our own andrea mitchell reports on whether or not the prospect
is any different this time around. andrea's at the state department. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. it is a big challenge. today the president worked hard to make sure these talks didn't end before they got under way because of new violence in the west bank. two israelis shot and wounded today. four israeli settlers were killed yesterday. today, the president met separately with both sides in advance of the first direct talks in nearly two years to be held here at the state department by the secretary of state tomorrow. >> the united states will put our full weight behind this effort. we will be an active and sustained participant. we will support those who make difficult choices in pursuit of peace. but let me be very clear. ultimately, the united states cannot impose a solution and we cannot want it more than the parties themselves. >> the most immediate challenge, the first hurdle is planned by the israelis to resume construction on palestinian land by the end of this month.
at least for now, the u.s. is simply glad that both sides will be here face to face tomorrow. brian? >> we'll be watching it all. an degree that mitt andrea mitchell at the state department tonight. andrea, thanks. a quick note on politics here at home. alaska senator lisa murkowski conceded last night, officially handing the nomination to joe miller, a political unknown who ran with the backing of the tea party. murkowski is now the seventh incumbent to lose a primary race this election cycle. miller becomes the fifth tea party candidate to win a gop senate primary. when we continue in just a moment, a familiar voice around here on "nightly news," a beloved academy award-winning actor, michael douglas talks about his throat cancer diagnosis. later, an employer leading by example and making a difference for national guard troops headed overseas. mple and making a difference for national guard troops headed overseas.
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call or go online to learn more. [ male announcer ] if you cannot afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. >> announcer: this is nbc "nightly news" with brian williams. >> you hear that voice at the top of this broadcast every night. it is, of course, the voice of our friend, the great michael douglas. actor, producer, academy award winner. last night he shocked david letterman's audience and, by extension, all of us with his revelation that he is battling stage four throat cancer, a serious illness. and he speculated about what might have brought it on. we knew he was sick. none of us knew how sick. our chief science correspondent robert bazell has more on the fight ahead of him. >> ladies and gentlemen, please say hello to michael douglas. michael? >> reporter: michael douglas
strode onto david letterman's stage last night to promote his new film, but instead made a shocking announcement. >> i've got cancer. found out about it three weeks ago. i've got a biopsy and they analyzed it. it's a stage four which is intense. >> reporter: douglas, who is 65, has had a stellar career on television and in the movies. >> you're going to have to kill me. >> reporter: winning an oscar for his portrayal of gordon gekko in "wall street." >> greed, for lack of a better word, is good. >> i'm sorry to be dumb about this, but you look great and you don't sound like you have throat cancer. now, why is that? >> because i'm on stage. [ laughter ] >> because, kirk, he says, son, you have to look good. you never know when you might have cancer. >> reporter: douglas was clear about the likely cause of the tumor. a combination that's responsible for a large portion of the more than 30,000 cases of head and neck cancers every year.
>> i smoked cigarettes and i drank. >> reporter: dr. edward kim of m.d. anderson cancer center treats this sort of cancer and says that a diagnosis of stage four can sound way worse than the actual prognosis. >> in fact, many patients with stage four in head and neck cancer, which means they have spread to the local lymph nodes can be cured with our therapies including chemotherapy and radiation. >> reporter: "people" magazine reports douglas had a sore throat and other symptoms for months but doctors found the tumor only three weeks ago. he's in treatment and hopeful. >> percentages are very good. i would hate to say, but it looks like it should be 80%. >> reporter: douglas will continue radiation and chemo they a chemotherapy for months. many clearly wish him well in this new and most difficult role. rkplace.day about the hat we
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bad behavior. a new study in the harvard business review says the opposite may actually be the case. the study found gossip helped to relieve employee anxiety and helped managers identify problems and perhaps surprisingly found that a lot of gossip was actually positive. hmm. we told you here last night about a bill to ban plastic shopping bags that seemed poised for passage by the california state legislature. it turned out it did not pass. a fierce lobbying campaign by bag manufacturers convinced legislators that the ban would be, instead, a job-killer. if you watch this and other broadcasts a lot, you won't be surprised to learn this. since the gulf oil spill, april 20th, bp has spent an enormous amount of money on those glossy ads. more than $93 million, triple what it spent over the same three-month period last year.
in a report to a congressional committee, bp also said it has provided nearly $90 million more to four states most affected by the spill -- florida, alabama, mississippi, and louisiana -- to help promote tourism. talk about marketing. the man in charge at apple, steve jobs, said today his company has now sold an almost unbelievable 275 million ipods and they hope to sell even more of them with a new and improved line-up. oh, the way they get your money. prices will start at $50 for the new ipod shuffle. goes up to $400 for the new ipod touch which will now have two built-in cameras, front and rear-facing cameras for pictures and videos. when we come back, going above and beyond the call of duty on the homefront when a family sends a father and soldier to the war front.
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if your breathing suddenly worsens, your throat or tongue swells, you get hives, have vision changes or eye pain... or have problems passing urine. tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, problems passing urine or an enlarged prostate... as these may worsen with spiriva. also discuss the medicines you take... even eye drops. side effects include dry mouth, constipation and trouble passing urine. i'm glad i'm taking spiriva everyday because breathing better is just better. ask your doctor if once-daily spiriva is right for you. we're back. time now for our making a difference report. 24 hours after president obama formally announced the end of combat operations in iraq, thousands of americans are
getting ready to head to afghanistan, including the largest deployment of the iowa national guard since the second world war. one soldier's family has gotten crucial support from his employer who's setting an example and by doing so, making a difference. their story from nbc's kevin tibbles. >> reporter: for the strausser family of rural iowa, even summer chores on the farm aren't enough to distract them from what's coming. 35-year-old sergeant major matt strausser will leave for his third tour of duty with the national guard, his second to afghanistan. >> my biggest concern is that he comes home safely. >> reporter: and their boys are old enough now to grasp the concept of time apart. >> i'm proud of my dad, but i don't really like it when he leaves. >> he's trying to help our country and i'm sad that he has to leave because i don't get to see him for a year. >> reporter: a fact not lost on mom and dad. >> i worry about the kids and
what's going through their mind. >> reporter: when matt isn't on duty, he works at the nearby augustine & sons farm with long-time employer and friend dan augustine. >> i think a lot of people disregard how difficult it is for the guard members to transition back and forth. military families need some support while they're gone -- not just the soldier, the military families need support. >> reporter: and the augustine's enthusiastically pitch in while matt is gone, helping jessica get the boys to their ball games and other events. the augustines say it's the least they can do. >> the sacrifice we make doesn't measure to what the family has to do. it really doesn't. >> reporter: and their constant support of the strausser family is deeply felt. >> any time we have needed anything -- you know, if we ask, i mean, they are just there for us. >> that means everything. they go way above and beyond what any other employer i know of does. it's a lot easier on my mind to
know that my family's faken care of. >> reporter: trying times made a little easier by employers and friends who help bridge the gap when a soldier dad goes off the war. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. and that's our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we sure hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. we sure hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com new developments in a murder mystery involving four bay area cities, four suspects and one missing man. good evening, everyone, i'm tom sinkovitz. >> and i'm lisa kim. late this afternoon yet another turn, one that you may have the key to it under arrest. tracy grant is live in hercules where they're shi